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13" Macbook Pro Retina Specs? i5 vs i7? 4gb vs. 8gb vs. 16gb?

48205 Views 20 Replies Latest reply: Nov 12, 2013 6:54 PM by jenzeee RSS
  • js32 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hah, read this thread!  You will be extra-confused by the end .


  • captainKCF Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The only video processing I do is with screen flow for iBooks Author.  Think the 2.4 is enough?  8gb enough?  I do get the 16gb argument and am prone to upgrading memory, so I may do that.  Do I need to spend the money to upgrade the chip? 

  • matt_82 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I actually found this helpful, thanks js!


    I am, I suppose, 'an average user' when it comes to putting demands on a laptop, and having researched this quite a lot I have come to the conclusion that 8GB RAM is plenty to see me through the next 3-4 years (or more). My usage is unlikely to change in the next 4 years, so 16GB RAM is unlikely to be any more useful to me in 4 years than it is now (I think). My main reason for considering the upgrade now is because upgrades are not an option after purchase. I now think that the money would be better spent on a complete upgrade (i.e. a new laptop) in 4 years time when other aspects of the laptop might also start to stifle performance (i.e. whats the point of having lots of RAM if there are other factors (i.e. CPU, integrated graphics, etc) also holding the computer back).


    For me, 16GB is the fear-driven choice, 8GB is the sensible choice.


    re: CPU - it seems that a bump to the 2.8 i7 might offer about a 10% improvement in performance over the base 2.4 i5. For me, that's not worth £240 (~ $380 US) here in the UK. I might plump for the 2.6 i5 - not sure yet.

  • js32 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, that's reasonable.  It's annoying that you have to decide now.  It's true that non-upgradeability means that you could waste money on something you don't need; it used to be you could just buy more fricking RAM if and when you needed it.  If you think you're going to buy another laptop in three or four years, you're right that you  don't need 16GB.  It's also true that a 15" quad-core is a lot more "future proof."


    It is mostly people like myself who stubbornly hang on to old (but nice, small) computers who may want it--as I mentioned, I'm writing this on my 8-year-old g4 12" powerbook, using TenFourFox, etc...only possible through RAM upgrades. And on computer longevity, there's this:



    Again--not an issue for a computer you'll have for five years.  As for the processor clock-speed--yeah, it's $$$ for not-so-much-extra.  Obviously, if you have the money, go for it.  Personally, I would still go for the RAM if I have to choose a single upgrade, but that is choosing ability-to-handle-multiple-large-programs-in-the-future over current speed.  Actually, if you want to spend money on present-day-needs, getting the 512SSD/2.6ghz/8gb ram model is probably the best choice, since an emptier SSD is a faster SSD.

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,785 points)

    For me, 16GB is the fear-driven choice





    85% of APPS havent changed in 6 years, RAM wise.


    a 2007 mac mini with 2gig of RAM will run AS FAST as a current macbook Air with 8gig of RAM on MOST THINGS


    excepting games (dont mess with them) and Photo and Video editing.


    Ive got 8 Macs, some very old, 3 utterly new and top of the line,.....I dont notice anything on ANY of them unless I am messing with photo or video editing.



  • jenzeee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the late 2012 rMBP'13 with the i7 processor and 8GB Ram. Why? Actually, the i5 processor was also good though, but I have a GoPro Hero 3 Black and edit videos with FCP on my rMBP'13. In this case, and especially in terms of rendering, the i7 clearly shows his strengths & advantage of computing power over the i5's.


    However, I have to say that I am suprised about the hungry RAM "consumption" of my rMBP. From the boot up it fall already from mid 6GB to low 5GB free Ram. And when opening some apps like safari, mail, and calendar, I am consistently in the 1-2 free RAM range. No idea why. Thus, I do not agree to what my presuccessor PlotinusVeritas wrote.


    Propably he also still sleeps with an iPhone 1 under his pillow - take it easy buddy, just fun.



    My ADVISE: If you go for a NEW rMBP'13 go for 8GB, or even better 16GB if you run with many apps & tabs simultniously. And if you know you will do some kind of editing like video or music, go for the i7 2.8Ghz. Otherwise the i5's are fine.

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